This article was originally published in Del Sur News
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “How’s the real estate market?” And it’s a good question. Buyers want to get informed about the marketplace so that they can negotiate the best price possible. And Sellers want to make sure they’re listing their property at a price that attracts buyers.
Unlike in North America, we can’t point to official market statistics or a central database that tracks price trends over time. But we can still provide insight on how the market is doing based on a review of asking prices for individual properties, published price lists from developers and feedback from local agents and market commentators. Let’s start by looking back a few years:
The big first wave of foreign real estate buyers landed in San Juan del Sur in the early 2000s. Had you visited at the time you would have found the town full of property speculators fighting over undeveloped land deals. Many had seen what was going on over the border in Costa Rica and wanted to get at earlier foothold in a similar market boom. Investors who bought early and sold before 2008 had good returns as many properties saw 300-500% price increases between 2000-2008.
Then came the global economic crisis. International buyers withdrew and the investment money dried up. 2009-11 was a difficult period for real estate in San Juan del Sur with prices falling, underfunded developments closing down and others suspending construction.
In 2012 the US economy started to recover and this started to have a positive effect locally. The uptick in sales and prices gathered momentum in 2013 and has continued into 2015.
But this second wave of interest is different in several ways: During the first wave buyers bought for investment, now they’re buying for vacation rental income, lifestyle and retirement. Demographics have changed and this time round we’re seeing more retirees looking for a home to relocate to full time. Buyers looking at property in 2015 are generally more cautious than the quick-flip speculator of the past. And this time round developers are better at what they do and their offerings are of higher quality.
So while there may not be the rampant speculation and frenzy of the past, the market is healthy and more sustainable over the long term. The rental market is strong, sellers are willing to negotiate and Nicaragua still holds the top spot for the region’s best value buying destination.
In Escamequita $95,000 affords you over an acre parcel situated at the top of a hill with sweeping views of the ocean, Costa Rica and hundreds of acres of undeveloped farmland. Or for $30,000 you could buy a ready to build lot with panoramic views of 6 bays in a serviced community at El Encanto. Just up the road a $199,000 investment will get you a large 2 bedroom bungalow with ocean and valley views.
Tourism continues to grow, year after year. And it’s not just surfers looking for waves and backpackers looking for a party, it’s also investors looking for good value real estate. San Juan del Sur’s growing international profile, the “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” effect, buyer demographics, improved confidence in the US and the new airport in Tola should keep the market moving along nicely.
Closing & Free Bonuses
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell property, check out San Juan Live’s online property listing service, which offers Buyers direct access to Sellers. For each listing you’ll find tons of information including photos, listing video, GPS coordinates to zoom in on Google maps, a downloadable seller information packet, an owner biography and best of all, direct contact with the Seller.